SCDPS begins Buckle Up, SC to focus on reducing unbelted fatalities


MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Between Memorial Day, Bike Fest and hot weather, our roads are going to be packed this weekend. Law enforcement officials are cracking down to make sure you stay safe.

Nearly 300 - that's how many people who weren't wearing seat belts died on South Carolina highways last year.

While traffic deaths have dropped, the goal is to get that number to zero. In order to do that, highway patrol wants to raise awareness, so, Buckle Up South Carolina kicks off Monday.

It's a two-week campaign, local law enforcement hopes will stick. You're going to notice more officers on our roads handing out tickets to unbelted drivers. If you don't wear your seat belt, it could cost you a $25 dollar fine, or even worse, a life.

Already this year, SC Highway Patrol wrote more than 6,000 tickets in Horry and Florence counties combined. Last year, they wrote more than 21,000. Officers hope to hand out fewer this year, but that requires you follow the law, especially at night.

"We know that at night time, people know that we can't see them as well in the car buckled up and we have more crashes without wearing seat belts," says South Carolina Highway Patrol Corporal Sonny Collins.

More than half of the people in our state killed in accidents did not buckle up, proving there's still room to grow.

"The more people that put on seat belts, the lower our fatalities will be, because we've seen our fatalities come down and now with the seat belt usage well over 90 percent, we know we're headed in the right direction," Collins says.

That's not the only way highway patrol is working to make our roads safe. "Move Over" is another nation-wide campaign, to keep emergency workers and you safe on our roads.

It's simple, if you see an ambulance or emergency vehicle on the road, you need to slow down and move over. Failing to do so is a misdemeanor and carries a fine up to $500.

If you type "#MoveOver" into social media, you'll see law enforcement holding up signs that say "#MOVEOVER," but that's not the only way authorities are turning to the media to spread awareness.

South Carolina Highway Patrol is turning to YouTube and commercials to grab your attention. One of those, supports the "Buckle Up SC," campaign. The video, Target Zero, is the push to get the number of traffic deaths down. The campaign brings the issue close to home.

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